Many think MachineShop is building a hugely valuable business around the red-hot IoT phenomenon. They are partially correct.
The fact is that utilities, telcos, hospitals, manufacturers, hospitality, transportation, defense, agriculture and many more markets have been ‘doing IoT’ for a long time.
The multi-billion dollar problem that we care about is the cost and complexity of IT-OT integration – or where the physical world of assets and events meets the virtual world of applications and analytics. “OT”, by the way, stands for Operations Technology – the domain where a lot more money has been spent on assets, systems and infrastructure than we spend on traditional Information Technology.
IT/OT – Putting IoT Into Perspective
Decision-makers, end users, customers and ecosystem partners care about what’s happening in the real world, and in real time. This is the domain of OT where thousands of systems and thousands of vendors lock mission critical data in silos. It’s not (usually) with malicious intent. There are historical reasons that OT systems don’t play nice with each other or IT. It is very hard, for example, building power generation systems, flight simulators, MRI machines, etc. The expertise and effort required for these activities is typically on the functional purpose of OT, not how to interact with the rest of the world. Those days are over. Individuals and organizations now crave and demand this information. It’s invaluable and can even be lifesaving.
APIs – the New Integration Platform and the New Standard for IoT
I think creating and managing industry standards is the world’s second oldest profession. Don’t get me wrong; they are necessary. But I laugh, literally, every time I read about an M2M or IoT “expert” talk about creating a standard for all things IoT. Do you really think that medical devices, industrial control systems, power plants and airplanes are going to subjugate to a global IoT standard? I know the answer.
Mission critical systems and their vendors need to develop and comply with specific requirements of their customers and industry-specific standards. But, a universal IoT protocol is illogical.
That said, in the IT domain, the world has adopted a universal, non-regulated, standard for creating and integrating content, application functionality and even network management. It’s called API, and today it’s about REST APIs.
Every month, trillions of interactions between web and enterprise applications, online newspapers, sports media, mobile networks and even the United Nations take place via REST APIs. We say it’s time that the world started interacting with the billions of connected things through APIs as well.
There is no third party platform necessary; no new industry standard needs to be created. Proprietary interfaces based on industry- and vendor-specific protocols can all be transformed in such a way that all of IT and any developer of enterprise applications can interact with OT and IoT in a controlled, secure, manageable way.
This is the power and simplicity of APIs. This is our mission and destiny. Stay tuned and watch as we help build one of the most important bridges and technologies in enterprise technology.
Learn more about the MachineShop mission by downloading our free whitepaper: "Redefining IoT Platforms."